Chapter 7 – Angels and Spirits, or maybe Ghosts?

I have never believed in ghosts.  I only watch scary movies with all of the lights on and I absolutely hate haunted houses.

I do like to watch Ghost Hunters on TV and I do believe that there are people out there who can see “dead people”.

My entire lookout on the paranormal all changed when I began teaching at St. Mary’s Catholic School in League City, Texas.

St. Mary’s Catholic School is located south of Houston, Texas just thirty miles north of the Gulf of Mexico.

I was called in to teach at St. Mary’s in the middle of the school year.  Luckily just before the students returned to school during Christmas Break, I was allowed to enter the school to prepare my classroom.  My daughter, who was a senior in high school at the time went with me to help.

Let me tell you this to begin.  My classroom at St. Mary’s was and still is to this day the best learning space for a middle school science teacher EVER.  Why?  First, it was located in the school’s attic.  This should have sent off an alarm but really it was spacious, there was no carpeting so that itself was great for the students to work and write on the floor with no hinderance for classroom projects.  Secondly, my room, get this, had its own room with a sink and a toilet.  Yes , I had my own bathroom.  Better yet, the students already knew that this bathroom was not to be used by them unless my throw up run rule came into play.  The room also had a storage room for the science supplies and an additional room behind my white board that ran the entire length of the room for school storage mainly of school uniforms.  Two more rooms came off of this storage room for furnace and water heater needs for the school.  I had windows that looked out into the street so we had plenty of sunlight and the stairs up to my room were carpeted so that when the students came or left it did not sound like an army was entering or exiting.  My 2nd floor science room at St. Mary’s was the best that a middle school science teacher could ask for.

So my daughter and I began setting up my new classroom.  The secretary that let us in had left and we were all alone.  Right now as I write this and if this was a movie this is where the people in the audience are thinking and maybe yelling, “Leave Now!”.

As we worked at putting together the bulletin boards my daughter told me that she did not like this room and that St. Mary’s was haunted.  To this day I remember her stating this to me in a very serious manner.  I also remember my reply of “It is not haunted Madison.  This is a Catholic School.  If anything, there are angels here with us.”

We finished what we needed to do and then we went downstairs to leave.  As we got to the first floor I told Madison that I would show her the rest of the school.  The problem with this was that only the security lights were illuminating the long windowless hallway that lead to the front office.  Madison did not want to walk down that hallway but we did. We went down towards the hallway that went past the school library which when looking inside was completely dark.  We looked into it and then decided to exit the school.  I would take her to see the school in its entirety at another time when the lights were on!

Looking back on this exit, I will tell you that I had an odd feeling of being watched and decided that we could skip the tour and leave.  I know that I was probably just being paranoid about what Madison had said about her feelings of the school being haunted.

I will tell you, the reader, this right now:  Whenever I was alone in my science classroom and especially if I was using my personal bathroom I had always heard sounds coming from the science supply room area.  I cannot tell you how many times that I would think that a teacher had ventured up to my room while I was using the bathroom and I would hurry to wash my hands in order to be able to catch and help or talk to the teacher who was probably searching for a science related tool in the supply room.  Two or three times I remember walking into that supply room and calling out that I was coming only to realize that no one was there.  I always thought that I was losing it or just hearing things when this happened.  It often happened.

About two months into teaching at St. Mary’s is when the Schist Hits the Fan.  (This is a geology pun if you are wondering.  I will explain this in Chapter 8.)

The students at St. Mary’s did not go directly into their classrooms when they arrived for school in the morning.  Students were dropped off or were escorted into the gymnasium/social hall/cafeteria which is disconnected from the main school.  All teachers also meet there and after the Pledge of Allegiance, daily prayers, and that day’s messages are relayed, the entire school population then moves on to the main school and to the student’s classrooms.

So one morning I was in my classroom bathroom and as I was washing my hands I heard a high pitched voice say, “Is anyone here?”.  I heard it as clear as day.  It sounded like a young girl, younger than a middle school aged girl, but it was a voice of a girl.  I finished up quickly and opened the bathroom door to see if a kid had snuck up to my room.  No one was there and then I thought to myself, wait, I did not hear anyone going down the stairs!  Believe me, no kid of any age can quietly go down stairs no matter if those stairs are carpeted or not!

I had a funny feeling and I ran, no I sprinted down and out of the school into the gymnasium where everyone was meeting for school to begin.  I went up to a few teachers and one asked me if everything was OK.  I must have had a weird look on my face.  I asked her if any kids were allowed or had asked to go into the main school that morning.  She asked why and I told her that I had just heard a little girl’s voice in my science room.  All three teachers standing there looked at each other and then the one teacher suggested that I talk to our religion teacher.  “Why?”, I asked.  They said, “Just go, she will tell you what you need to know.”  My answer in my head about this was the repeated phrase of OMG, OMG, OMG,OMG!!!!

I walked up to the religion teacher and quietly told her the same story of what I had heard that morning.  She told me to stay after the students were dismissed to class.  She had to tell me something. Once again, OMG, OMG,OMG, OMG!

The students left and she calmly told me that there were three people that “lived” up in my classroom.  One was an older man who they believed was a farmer named John.  Yes, ghosts have names!  There was an old lady who they could not pinpoint as to who she was and there was a little girl who “lived” in the bathroom.  She told me this with no problem in regarding that I probably did hear what I thought that I had heard!

So now I knew.  St. Mary’s was a haunted school and the main location of sightings and happenings were in my room.  Yay!

Now I am a believer in the paranormal but was every teacher in that school a believer?  Nope!  Once that they knew that I knew the school’s secret the teachers that believed and had experiences with the ghosts told me their stories.  Here are some of these stories:

Kelley:  The PE teacher had been upstairs many times and she said that John would make sounds for her when asked by her.  Her husband thought that she was crazy until one day he went upstairs with her.  Kelley calmly asked John to make a sound for her.  Oh, by the way she first said Hi to John and then introduced him to her husband.  She wanted John to know who he was and how he was related to her.  Her husband then heard an undisclosed sound that couldn’t be explained to be caused by anything else in that room, he then ran out and down and would never venture up there again.  Kelley is a believer!

Amy:  The PreK teacher was at St. Mary’s when they had a ghost hunter come in to check that status of St. Mary’s hauntings.  She told me that the ghost hunter had a divining rod that they use.  She said that it was just like the type that people used to detect water that would bend downward to locate that water.  She says that she watched that stick bend straight down towards the floor when the ghost hunter asked for the ghost to show proof of itself.  These “ghost locators” are the ones that received the ghost’s name as John.  They also determined the little girl’s presence but they could not get the old lady to work with them.  Amy also tells a story of preschoolers who would use the student bathroom directly under my room on the first floor of the school.  One day a little girl was told to go into one stall.  The little girl opened the stall door and came back to the teacher.  The teacher then asked her why she didn’t go in?  The little girl said, “because there is an old lady in there.”  The teacher kind of laughed and told her to go on in.  Meanwhile another little girl was listening to this conversation and walked over to the stall and looked in.  This little girl stated, “Its OK now, the old lady is gone.”  Remember how my daughter told me that the school was haunted?  I truly believe that younger kids feel, see, and know these paranormal happenings unlike us adults.  Children are believers; Amy is a believer!

Kim:  The school secretary told me of times when clocks would fly off of walls and of the time that the Xerox machine that used to be in the science room would spit out papers on its own.  Kim is a believer!

Lisa:  Now Lisa is another story.  Lisa is the most outgoing personality of anyone that I have ever worked with.  Lisa would listen to all of our ghost stories and happenings and would insist that we were just hearing things because our imaginations were working full throttle.  I told her to come upstairs to investigate.  She would laugh when I told her that I now said Good Morning to “my” ghost friends when I arrived each morning and that I told them that I would be back tomorrow or to have a good weekend if it was Friday.  I always told them also that I would be back.  I told her that I never believed in ghosts but that after all that I had heard and felt and had seen that I now believed.

One day Lisa did come up to investigate for herself.  She walked around the room and went into the bathroom.  Nothing.  I told her of the times that I had heard people in  the supply room.  She insisted that she was going in with no lights and I was to shut the door.  I would not do it.  She did it on her own while I stood outside in the classroom.  Nothing.  Then she asked me about the room behind the white board.  I told her, “Oh no, I do not go into there.  Its too scary!”.  She laughed at me and suggested that we go look.  I remember that we both left our cell phones on the desks outside of this room when I said that I would follow her in.  I was not going to lead.  We went into the left room that contains the furnace for the school.  We could not find a light in there so I went out to get on of our phones for a light source.  I took it in and Lisa looked around.  Nothing.  We closed that door and then went to look into the room on the far right side.  The door opened easily and Lisa said, “There is nothing in this room.  It feels different than that other room.”.   By the way I am behind her this entire time.  I’ll admit it, I was still spooked in this part of my room.  Don’t ask my why, I just always knew not to go into that section of rooms.  So as we came out of the second room we were about to go back into the main science room when I told Lisa, “Look, there is now a light on in that left heater room!”.   Remember, there was no light source that we could find when we went in there previously.  Lisa went to that door and she could not open it.  She looked at me and in a determined stance she opened it.  A light had been turned on!!  Lisa slammed that door shut and ran out into the main science room.  “OK, I believe now!”  Lisa never returned upstairs to visit.  Lisa, first not a believer, now a believer!

Nilda:  Our new Spanish teacher was working on her room on a summer day before the new school year began.  Just like when I was fixing my room when I first began teaching at St. Mary’s, once again only the safety lights were illuminating the external hallways.  Nilda said that she was walking down the hallway to leave out of the front and an older lady in a billowing skirt was walking and was heading towards the side exit door.  Nilda said that she knew it wasn’t a nun, remember nuns are missing in Catholic schools these days!  She said the older lady looked like an older farm lady.  She kept walking to where she could look at the side exit door and no one was there and better yet she never heard the door open or close.  Nilda had no idea at this time about the school’s ghosts just like me.  We told her all that we knew after she told us about her sighting.  Nilda is a believer!

I taught at St. Mary’s for two years.  During those two years I experienced many little feelings and witnessed and heard enough to make me a believer of ghosts, spirits, or whatever you want to call them.  Was I afraid to teach up there in the day?  No. Never. Remember I got to the point where I talked to my ghost friends to let them know that I knew that they existed.  They were letting me use their space.  We had an agreement!

Now going into that room at night was another experience.  I was never there often after dark but if I was at school after the sun set I was never in my room, I was downstairs for meetings or for the middle school “haunted” sleepover, I mean retreat!

Once a year I was told that the middle school students stayed overnight for our religious retreat and I was told that teachers also stayed.  I never said anything to the students about my ghost beliefs although some did relate stories that they had heard.  At these times when I heard them talking about the “little girl in the bathroom”, I would tell them that it was not true.  Yes I lied to students in a Catholic School setting!  I had to keep the calm of my environment people!

So once I was told about this overnight retreat what do you think I did?  Yes, I lied again!  I told my fellow middle school teachers that I could stay until 11 pm but then I had to leave because I had an appointment the next morning very early and because I lived forty minutes from St. Mary’s I could not stay the night.

Thank You Lord for allowing me to work with believers of Truth because they said that they understood and that it was fine if I left before the bewitching hour!  There was no way that I was going to sleep in that haunted school.

Just recently Kelley, Alex, and I, the middle school teachers met with the students who were now off to college that we had the first year that I taught at St. Mary’s when they were in the 8th grade.  We played kickball outside with them and then we all went inside with them and knowing that they were now at an age of maturity, Kelley and I started reminiscing about the ghosts of St. Mary’s.  All of the students ears perked up and told us to stop making up stories.  We told them that this was the truth.   They were appalled that we never told them.  I then told them, “Why do you think that I never spent the night at the retreats?!”  Those students are now believers.

So all of these stories had to do with the school but here is the best story of all.  This story about St. Mary’s “ghosts” truly made me a believer.

St. Mary’s had a priest that was the head priest for quite a long time.  For close to twenty years, Father Cargill was in charge with all of the St. Mary Church and School detail.  He passed away a few years before I attended anything at St. Mary’s but I was told this following story.  You may also become a believer.

Father Cargill was a priest that loved the Catholic Church and he also loved the school that helped to further the teaching of the Catholic religion to students at St. Marys.  After his death, St. Marys renamed the gymnasium/social hall to Cargill Hall.

Now I have already told you that when it comes to spirits and ghosts we have believers and we have nonbelievers.  The superintendent of the Catholic Diocese was an Irish born nun, yes a nun, that when told about our other occupants at St. Mary’s did not believe.  I can maybe understand her not believing in our three ghosts of the science room but I cannot believe that she did not believe in the following “spirit” sighting at St. Marys.

After Father Cargill passed away, another priest was assigned residency at St. Marys.  His name was Father Howard.  Father Howard is a younger priest and he believes.  He had told Sister Kivina that he often saw the spirit of Father Cargill on the altar with him during masses at St. Marys.

I believe this because I have been told the story of the day’s happenings when Father Cargill’s funeral was held at St. Marys.  The teachers who had taught under Father Cargill were allowed to leave school to attend his funeral.  The remaining teachers would look after the students for this time.  I was told that is was a perfectly beautiful sunny day until the funeral began.  As the funeral mass began, clouds appeared and rain began and a rush of wind blew through the church.  In the school at the same hour in which the funeral was taking place the school lights flickered and the power went off for that hour.  When the funeral mass ended and Father Cargill’s casket was taken outside, the blue skies reappeared and all was well.

Father Cargill was in residence at St. Mary’s for a long time and I truly believe that he wanted the St. Mary’s faithful to know that he was and still will be with them at mass.  When you hear this story, do you believe?  I do.  Sister Kivina still could not be persuaded about this sighting and happening.  I guess she needed to experience it to believe.  I did experience some of the happenings so I believe.  I understand her resistance.

So if you look up the definitions of a ghost, a spirit, and an angel this is what you will find:

A ghost is an apparition of a dead person that is believed to appear or become manifested to the living typically as a nebulous image.

A spirit is simply the synonym of the word ghost.

An angel is a spiritual being believed to act as an attendant, agent, or messenger of God, conventionally represented in human form with wings and a long robe.

After looking at these definitions I believe that the three in the science room are ghosts, Father Cargill’s apparition is a spirit, and my guardian angel did not show itself but was always and is at my side.

I’m glad that John and the two other ghosts made my teaching experience at St. Marys a little more exciting but I’m OK with moving on and leaving them alone in their attic room.  Just so you know, that attic room is no longer used as a classroom anymore and the ghosts do not appear like they once did.  Maybe they just wanted their own room.  I can understand that!!  I can because I believe.

The pictures that I have posted were taken by me.  When I first had to go with just the stories that people shared with me I had the need to prove to myself that these entities did exist.  I wanted proof to show others.  I would sit at my desk and I would take pictures.  Some pictures would just be of an empty middle school science room but as I kept taking pictures at different times I ended up having a collection of proof on my phone.

Some pictures you see have orbs in them.  The best pictures of proof are the ones that show the “good” ghost showings versus the “bad” ghost showings that I felt were always in the bathroom, the supply room, and in the three rooms behind the white board.  You will notice that pictures taken out at the room towards the steps contain either the orbs or white ghostlike figures coming out of the ceiling lights.  If I pointed my camera behind me or at the bathroom there were always black configurations.  Look at the pictures that I have downloaded here and you can make up your mind in what you see.  You will either believe or you won’t.

Look at the picture of me standing in the room at night on one of the last days of school.  I did not want to go up there.  Some teachers made me go up with them.  We all waited together for something to show up or to make a sound.  Nothing happened.  The nonbelievers left and two of us remained.  All of a sudden I felt a cold temperature difference by my ankles and I told Amy, a believer, to hurry up and take a picture.  Look closely at my feet.  Do you see the spot of light to the left of my feet?  There was no light in there and no one had a flash light or any other source of light. You see it, I know that you do.

Yep, you are now a believer.




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